“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller” -Ibn Battuta
Since I was commissioned again last November, I have traveled more than I thought I ever would. Getting on a plane has become second nature, waiting in airports – almost relaxing. This year I have traveled to the Equator, I have been as far north as I have ever gone and also as far south. I have traveled to North America, South America, Europe, Africa and soon Asia…in one year.
Although Ibn Battuta and I are from different times and different faiths, and today being an age where to liken oneself to anyone who is a devout muslim is ‘political suicide’ in the great United States of America – still I say we are more alike than we are different.
Ibn Battuta left his hometown of Tangier, Morocco when he was 20 years old in 1325 to go on Hajib (pilgrimage to Mecca.) What would have been a relatively short journey turned into a journey of over 29 years and spanned roughly 75,000 miles where he visited lands found today in 44 different countries.
I doubt very much that it was by design. That Ibn told his folks,
“Hey Mom, Hey Dad! I’m going to go on Pilgrimage is that ok? It’s only a short trip there
plus about 30 more years because I really want to explore the known muslim world see ya in the afterlife. K ttyl bye.
A journey that started for Ibn, to put his faith into action had unforeseen splash effects on his life his loved ones and the people he met and told stories to, of their neighbors that perhaps they had also never met.
Like Ibn, my journey started with a short 1.5 year international service, followed by a twin length US service, followed by a shift to 2 years of service traveling around the United States and the World. New York City, Quito, Atlanta, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Cleveland, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Alexandria, Shreveport, Lake Charles, New Orleans, San Antonio, Sinton, Corpus Christi, Austin, Sonora, Asheville, Orlando, Stony Point, Harare, Nashville, Tallinn and soon Osaka. In 12 months.
Traveling leaves me exhausted and speechless. I resonate with Ibn Battuta though in that it also turns me into a storyteller. Not necessarily of my own stories, rather the stories of those who I meet. Much like what Anaïs Nin described when saying “We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls.”
And so I would like to take the time to share some stories through this blog of the travels I have completed and of this journey of faith I continue to be on. Hopefully there will be less stories of being cramped on flights and more stories of discovering newfound delights – here and everywhere. The world is a large place full of colorful vibrant people. Let’s explore.